Doctor Lindsey Richter Encourages Cultural Learning

By Isaiah Snell

Doctor Lindsey Richter comes to Grace with a Ph.D. in French from Princeton University. Richter teaches French and has a deeply rooted passion for learning other cultures.

Sounding Board: What drew you to Grace?

Richter: I went out to the east coast knowing I wanted to teach. In my studies and in the many opportunities I had to teach, I only grew more fascinated with the ways we can teach and the ways we acquire knowledge. I wanted a place that encouraged students to think collaboratively and think across disciplines in their learning; that’s what drew me to teaching at a liberal arts college. What I found attractive about Grace was the many opportunities I had to share my faith more explicitly, rather than just debating the religious ties in the things I teach in my head.

SB: What drew you to teaching French and French literature?

Richter: Ever since I was little, I loved foreign languages. I loved the idea that there can be more than one word that means the same thing; that fascinated me. I studied a lot of languages in undergrad thinking I might be an interpreter, but I was more drawn to teaching at a college level later around my junior and senior year. I’m always interested in communication and the way meaning making happens because we invest our words, our sounds, with meaning as a culture. Literature is just a bigger world of that invested meaning where words are made more complex with metaphors and other devices.

SB: What makes you most passionate about teaching?

Richter: What brings me the greatest sense of excitement and satisfaction is building ideas with students. I’d love to get into other work with translating, especially French poetry to English, so I could create greater accessibility for students. I’m mostly just excited to see what opportunities come up in my teaching career here at Grace with this great team of passionate people that will allow me to keep encouraging cross-cultural learning. I’ve always felt like the pursuit of truth and learning happens collectively, and I can see that is very possible here with these students and these faculty members. The classroom is a place for students and teachers to experiment together with learning, and yes, teachers are learning at the same time as students.

SB: What do you wish everyone knew about French?

Richter: French culture really thinks about the big ideas of life and is sensitive to what makes us human and gives us meaning. French history is very turbulent, and whether that was inspiration or not for their ‘big idea’ perspective, they weave these deeper questions into who they are as a people and as a language. French culture is very aware of the deep and profound neediness of mankind for something more.

SB: What makes you smile the most?

Richter: Old jokes with old friends. I love the way connections are made and conversations flow to bring people together and bring them back to something they’ve talked about before and will talk about again. Good conversations like that really bring out the smile in me.

SB: What are you looking forward to most?

Richter: I’m very excited to be a part of the community with students and with teachers. I really look forward to exploring topics, getting obsessed with ideas, and learning in a way that the classroom is everywhere.